Conversations You Can’t Have on Campus Perceptions of Beauty

Conversations You Can’t Have on Campus
Perceptions of Beauty
In our discussion of perceptions of beauty we touched on three main points how race
and ethnicity influence perception, societies fixation on beauty, and the pervasive process of
retouching images for enhancement. I thought it was interesting to have the studying cited in
are reading to show to the surprise of some where the average self-confidence of various
groups existed in this study. In particular, it was shown that African American women have a
higher on average perception of beauty than White Americans, who are most often the most
glorified in the media.
Moreover, it is interesting to see how societal perceptions of beauty differ from our own
and how beauty is shaped by the media. I think the media and society definitely have a
reciprocal role in creating the narrow definitions of beauty that we most often perceive in the
media. I think as individuals we are often open to a broader range of beauty that what is likely
to be shown in the media, that includes different ethnicities, shapes, ages and factors other
than physical attractiveness. I think the media helps perpetuate unhealthy and sometimes
unconventional beauty norms. In class we discussed how porn could have played a role in the
modern practice of hair removal for women. In think we can similarly see the influence of the
media when we look as the slenderizing of actresses and models over the decades. I think the
expectation of girls has changed as a result of being confronted by so many limited range of
women. We see this across race also. Though in citing the first mentioned study I think the
media’s exclusion of most other ethnicities has help create an in group out group phenomenon.
It is my assertion that many African Americans ignore many standards of beauty perpetuated
by the media, recognizing that greater society does not reflect them.
MIT OpenCourseWare
17.S914 Conversations You Can't Have on Campus: Race, Ethnicity, Gender and Identity
Spring 2012
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